Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering 9/11

As we remember those lost on this 14th anniversary of 9/11, so many things go through my mind every year.  As I'm commuting into work, I can't help but remember every step I took that day.  14 years later I still remember every minute like it was yesterday.

  • Thinking about taking my Mom to the Towers the next time she came for a visit.
  • The clear blue sky.
  • The comments about an accident at the World Trade Center as I arrived to my desk.
  • Trying to call everyone I could think of in an effort to let them know that I was ok.
  • The gasps as we listened to the radio when each tower fell.
  • Finally reaching my sister, who was at work and hadn't heard what happened yet.
  • Walking from 34th street to 110th street trying to get home because the subway was not running.
  • Watching the news all night in disbelief over what had just happened.
  • Building evacuations and bomb threats for the rest of the week.
That day is still very surreal to me and I can never bring myself to write anything about that day hear.  I refuse to watch the 9/11 specials, documentary, and news reports that fill our TV schedule the week leading up to the anniversary date.  I cannot bring myself to watch the memorial down at Ground Zero.

What I can do, is leave you with the last full post I have written on the subject.

God Bless...


Monday, February 2, 2015

Divergent Trilogy | 2015 Reading Challenge

Please note this post does contain spoilers.  

All opinions are my own and I was not given anything as compensation for this review.

One of the categories of my 2015 Reading Challenge is to read a trilogy.  I decided to apply the Divergent Trilogy to this category.

Everyone kept telling me that if I enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy, which I did, then I would enjoy the Divergent trilogy.  Each of the 3 books are over 500 pages, they are an easy read.  I don't have much time to read and it only took me about 3 weeks to get through all 3 books.
The premise of the story is interesting.  It takes place in the futuristic war-torn city of Chicago.  We don't know yet what kind of war led us to where we are, but it was bad enough that the founders of the current civilization built a wall to protect the inhabitants of the city from whatever was outside.  

The population is divided into five groups, or factions.  Erudite are the logical ones.  They are the teachers and doctors.  Candor are the honest ones.  They always tell the truth.  Amity are the peaceful ones.  They are always at peace and live in harmony.  Dauntless are the brave ones.  They are the police and protect the city.  Abnegation are the selfless ones.  They put others first and are trusted to run the government.

When children turn 16, they must choose which faction they will join and serve out the rest of their lives.  They can choose to remain with their families in their own faction or they can choose to leave and join another faction.  If they choose to join another faction, they will no longer be able to communication or see their families.  The motto is "faction before blood".  Before they choose at the Choosing Ceremony, each student is given an aptitude test to help them select which faction they should choose.

This is where our heroine, Beatrice Prior, comes in.  She is Abnegation, but in true form of any young adult novel, she doesn't feel she belongs there and doesn't know where she belong.  She is hoping the test will tell her what to choose.  Her test ends up being inconclusive, which is rare and considered dangerous by the government.  They call it 'Divergent'.

I found Divergent to be a very interesting read as Beatrice, now known as Tris, works to prove herself in her new faction.  There were some twists and turns, but for the most part was fairly predictable.  The power of the few to overcome and defeat those conspiring against the population.  The characters were interesting and evolved as the story progressed.  Not all the good guys live and not all the bad guys die.

Insurgent was ok.  But I found it to not be much different in story than the 1st book... just a different underdog group trying to overthrow those in power.  I'm not much of a romance type of person so by the middle of the book I was really over the drama of the relationship of Tris and Four.  But, the end of the book did end in a way that I wanted to read the 3rd one to see what happens next.

In Allegiant, we really learn the history and background behind the war and why Chicago had a very big fence built around it.  We also learn some additional background on Tris' parents.  I really just wanted the book to end by the time I got half way through.  Once I found out about what was going on outside of the fence, the rest of the book kind of fizzled for me.  There was much character or story development in the 2nd half.  The book flips back and forth between Tris and Four's point of view, which was a bit difficult to follow.  And, of course, more drama in their relationship.  The end of the book was kind of sad, but it did wrap things up quite well.  But it wasn't the type of ending where I wanted to know what happens next.  I was pretty happy it was done.

Now I couldn't end without some comments on the Divergent movie.  I waited to watch the movie until I finished the 1st book.  There were a lot of significant story lines and characters from the book that were left out of the movie.  The movie probably would have been ok had I not read the book, but the differences were very obvious.  There were even some scenes, like their trip through Four's fear landscape, that took on a whole different meaning in the movie than intended in the book.

The next book that I'm working through is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  I've heard a lot of good things about it and will definitely be waiting until after I'm done to watch the movie.

What are you reading in 2015?

Follow me on GoodReads to see what is on my book shelf!

2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Amanda has read 3 books toward her goal of 50 books.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Getting My Craft On...

The past few months I've been trying to visit my creative side, which, if you know me personally, is buried deep, deep down inside.  Meaning I don't consider myself very creative.

I've gotten a little better now that I've been doing Project Life scrapbooking.  More on that later.

I joined a card swap group on Facebook that focuses on swapping homemade cards for pocket scrapbooking.  In addition, they also do some challenges to help people work on different techniques or try new ones they haven't done before.

I've been slowing increasing my supply of crafting stash over the past few months by taking advantage of the coupons and sales at Michaels.

A couple of the cards I've made recently...

The last card was made from one of the few non-photo Christmas cards that we received.  I never thought about it before but holiday and birthday cards are a great starting point to a homemade addition to your scrapbook :)

It has been so long since I've been able to just sit down and work on my crafts so I'm hoping to be able to really get back to it soon.  In only finished January in my 2014 Project Life album... but have pictures printed through July!  Not to mention I want to do a book for Marshall's first year and I may start one for when he starts school next year.

What kind of hobbies to you wish you could get back into?


Friday, January 30, 2015

You're my favorite...

Ever have those days when you feel like you are not really getting this whole parenting thing?  It seems like they are coming more often then not these days.  There are days when I just sit on the bed and cry for apparently no reason other then sheer frustration.

I have a 4 year old who is still in diapers.  He won't sleep in his own bed... ever.  He is combative.  He doesn't listen... to the point where I will be standing right in front of him saying his name and it is like I'm not even there.  He throws things for no reason.  He is disruptive in school to the point where he has already been kicked out of 1 school.  I have never seen a child his age throw tantrums to the level that he does.  He screams and yells and argues.  He rarely does what you ask to do (or not do) without the need to repeat it 4 or 5 times.  The list goes on...

To add to that, we are in a financial bind due to the fact that I have been the only one consistently working for the past 15 months.  I have 3 cats who, for some reason, feel the need to do their business just outside the litter box instead of in it.  And don't get me started on the cat vomit!  My house is a mess.  I have unfinished projects all over the place.  It always seems like I cannot get ahead.

Yeah... definitely feel like I'm failing at this mommy, wife, and homemaker thing most of the time.

And then, tonight, while we are cuddling on the couch, Marshall says "You're my favorite mommy."

I say "Really?  Because I don't feel like a very good mommy right now."

His response:  "No, you're a good mommy."

And than I have to think of the other times.  The happy and fun times.  The times that all Marshall wants to do is give me a hug.  The time he helped me (sort of) shovel the driveway because daddy was away at reserve duty.  The time we built a snowman.  The time we went to the beach and he played in the ocean for the first time.  The time we took him to Cedar Point for the first time and the happy look on his face while he rode the rides.

It is true what they say... your kids won't remember that your house was a mess all the time.  Or that you didn't get your projects completed.  Or that you aren't gazillionaires.  They will remember the time you spend with them and all the happy and fun times that you have.

You may think you're failing at this parenting thing.  But, to your kids, you're most likely hitting it right out of the ballpark!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What I'm Reading | 2015 Reading Challenge

One of my 2015 goals is to spend some time on me.  That goal is going to be several parts to create the goal over the course of the year.  The 1st step is to get back into reading.

When I was in high school and college, I used to read all the time.  My yearly Christmas lists were usually filled with books, which were usually all read by March.  I don't remember when I stopped reading books, but I want to start again.  Especially with all these books being made into movies every year.

Starting this year, I am participating in the GoodReads 2015 Reading Challenge.  I am going to try and read at least 50 books this year.  But, on top of that, I am also participating in a category book challenge.  You can see the list in the 2015 Reading Challenge that I have posted in the header above.  I'm hoping this will turn into a yearly challenge for me and I'll try to find a new list every year.

I just charged up my Kindle and plan to use my daily commutes into the city for something other than playing Candy Crush and surfing Facebook.  My commute is 1 hour and 45 minutes so I know I can get some good reading done every day.

When I get home from the gym around 9:45pm each night, the first thing I do is turn on the TV.  Not anymore!  I will have a date with some tea and my kindle.  Or maybe a glass of wine on some nights :)

So, what is first on my list?

I haven't seen the movie yet... who am I kidding... I didn't see a single new movie last year!

I'm looking forward to getting into this one since I've heard a lot of great reviews on this.  Stay tuned for my review!

What are you reading this year?

2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Amanda has read 0 books toward her goal of 50 books.